National rower Saiyidah Aisyah tells us about her gruelling journey to the Olympics and how she maintains a healthy, radiant complexion despite long hours in the sun.
Singaporean Saiyidah Aisyah is proof that dreams do come true if you work hard enough. The 28-year-old competitive rower, who took up the sport 12 years ago as a teen, faced an arduous road to the recent Rio Olympics in Brazil. Doubters told her she would never make it, that her chances of qualifying for the Games in the niche sport were low. Her mother was not supportive of her sporting dream due to the constant training, so Saiyidah had to convince her to let her compete in Rio. She was also financially strapped, having taken long-term no-pay leave from her day job as a student development officer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic to train full-time. To raise the money needed to get to the Olympics, she turned to crowdfunding. Saiyidah shares with Her World how she overcame the odds to become the first Singaporean rower to compete in the Olympics
A SPORTING DREAM COME TRUE
TELL US ABOUT YOUR OLYMPIC ASPIRATIONS
“I had dreamt of becoming an Olympian since 2010, when I was a volunteer at the Youth Olympics. I’ve been told a number of times that I’m not good enough [for the Games], and being able to prove my doubters wrong is such a good feeling! The whole Olympic experience in Rio was really a dream come true for me.”
WHAT WAS YOUR LOWEST POINT ON THIS JOURNEY, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT TO BECOME WHO YOU ARE NOW?
“I was taking part in my last competitive race in Sydney before the Olympic qualifying races in South Korea, and I wasn’t performing very well. My coach told me then that if I continued to perform like that, I might as well not go to South Korea, [since I would surely lose]. I was really frustrated with myself and threw away my Olympic-rings necklace, which I’d been wearing to remind myself of my goal. I almost gave up on my dream back then, but I thought about how far I had come after 12 years in the competitive sport – and how silly it would be to throw away all my hard work just because I had a bad day. That made me pick myself up. Two weeks later, I went for the qualifying races and made history as the first Singaporean rower to qualify for the Olympics.”
YOU TURNED TO CROWDFUNDING IN 2015 TO KICK-START YOUR DREAM OF BEING AN OLYMPIAN, AND MANAGED TO RAISE $14,000. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE?
“I was a little hesitant initially because I don’t like asking for money, but I plucked up the courage to do it as I was running low on funds. The response I received from the community was overwhelming. It was such a beautiful experience, knowing I wasn’t alone in my sporting journey and that people believed in me.”
WHAT’S YOUR NEXT SPORTING GOAL?
“To win a medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.”
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO ACHIEVE THEIR ULTIMATE SELVES?
“Stop comparing yourself with others. Aim to be the best version of yourself. Be brave in the pursuit of your dreams and don’t let anyone or anything get between you and your goals. Stand up for what you believe in and stay strong under any circumstances because you never know who you might inspire. And when you’ve made it to where you want to be, stay humble and be kind. The world needs more love and less hate. A quote that I live by: we rise by lifting others.”
WHAT DOES BEAUTY MEAN TO YOU?
“To me, the most beautiful people are those who are kind to others, even if they are undeserving or if the situation doesn’t call for it.”
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN DESPITE BEING OUT IN THE SUN SO MUCH?
“Sunscreen is a must whenever I go outdoors. I reapply it often and I also apply after-sun care, such as aloe vera gel, following outdoor activities to keep my skin hydrated.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THREE KEY BEAUTY ESSENTIALS?
“Shiseido Global Suncare Perfect UV Protector SPF50+/PA++++, lip balm and facial blotters!”
ULTIMATE SKIN, ULTIMATE YOU
Like Saiyidah, our skin has the power and resilience to defend against environmental stressors and damage.